Many parents, especially obligors, think that once child support is ordered, the child support amount will stay the same until the minor child turns 18 (or 20, if still in high school). However, this is not always the case. Parents should regularly review their financial circumstances to determine if a modification of the child support obligation is necessary for their child(ren). A parent may be able to either increase or decrease a child support obligation, depending on the circumstances. Parents may modify their child support either by reaching an agreement with the other party, or by filing a motion to modify child support with the court for the judge to decide the issue.
In order for a court to grant a motion to modify child support, the parent filing the motion needs to show that there has been a “substantial change in circumstances” since the last order that renders the terms of the last order unreasonable and unfair (Minn. Stat. § 518A.39).
A “substantial change in circumstance” is defined as any of the following:
Note: If the obligor or the obligee becomes responsible for the support of an additional non-joint child from another marriage or relationship, this does not allow for a modification of child support.
Even if you meet one of the factors for a substantial change in circumstances listed above, the court may still deny your modification motion. However, if you meet one of the “presumptive” factors listed below, your child support will be modified by the court:
If one of these scenarios applies to a parent and the other parent will not agree to modify the terms of a child support order, that parent must file a motion with the court to get his or her child support obligation changed. Otherwise, the child support will continue as ordered. For example, if an obligor loses his or her job, that party should immediately file a motion to modify child support to lower their obligation to prevent an accrual of arrearages for child support.
Our family law experience is your best asset in resolving your Minnesota child support issues. If you want to modify a child support order, the Minnesota family law attorneys at Heimerl & Lammers are available to help you. Call our Minneapolis or Saint Paul offices at (612) 294-2200 for a free and friendly consultation. You can also schedule your consultation using the contact form on this site.